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HCI Seminar 3/10, Shumin Zhai, Google — Modern Touchscreen Keyboards as Intelligent User Interfaces: A Research Review

Michael Bernstein mbernst at
Mon Mar 6 10:44:18 PST 2017

Modern Touchscreen Keyboards as Intelligent User Interfaces: A Research
Shumin Zhai, Google

March 10, 2017, 12:30-1:30pm, Gates B01 · Open to the public
CS547 Human-Computer Interaction Seminar (Seminar on People, Computers, and

Essential to mobile communication, the touchscreen keyboard is the most
ubiquitous intelligent user interface on modern mobile phones. Developing
smarter, more efficient, easy to learn, and fun to use keyboards has
presented many fascinating IUI research and design questions. Some have
been addressed by academic research and practitioners in industry, while
others remain significant ongoing research challenges.

In this talk I will review and synthesize the progress and open research
questions of the past 15 years in text input, focusing on those my
colleaguges and I have directly dealt with through publications, such as
the cost–benefit equations of automation and prediction,  the power of
machine/statistical intelligence, the human performance models fundamental
to the design of error-correction algorithms,  spatial scaling from a phone
to a watch and the implications on human–machine labor division, user
behavior and learning innovation, and the challenges of evaluating the
longitudinal effects of personalization and adaptation.

Through this research program review, I will illustrate why intelligent
user interfaces, or the combination of machine intelligence and human
factors, holds the future of  human-computer interaction, and information
technology at large.

Shumin Zhai is a Senior Staff Research Scientist at Google. He works on
fundamental and practical aspects of human-computer interaction,
particularly user interface design and development informed by scientific
and technology insight. From 1996 to 2010 he was a Research Staff Member at
the IBM Almaden Research Center where he led product innovations and
foundational user interface research. He originated and led the
SHARK/ShapeWriter project and a start-up company that pioneered the
touchscreen word-gesture keyboard paradigm, filing the first patents of
this paradigm, publishing the first generation of scientific papers and
dissertations (by his former Ph.D. student Per Ola Kristensson) of the
area, publicly releasing the first word-gesture keyboard in 2004 through
IBM Alphaworks, and a top ranked (6th) iPhone app called ShapeWriter
WritingPad in 2008. With his team and colleagues at Google he continues to
lead the state of the art of input and UI research and development. His
publications have won the ACM UIST Lasting Impact Award and a IEEE Computer
Society Best Paper Award. He regularly serves on academic boards and
committees and served as the 4th Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on
Computer-Human Interaction. He received his Ph.D. degree at the University
of Toronto in 1995.  In 2006, he was named one of ACM's inaugural class of
Distinguished Scientists. In 2010 he was named Member of the CHI Academy
and ACM Fellow.
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